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Should I buy coverage from the rental companies?

Rental companies rip you off by selling an overpriced product that's full of hidden exclusions. They also find non-existent damages and charge inflated repair costs to their customers. It's important that renters understand that rental companies make nothing off their cars and only make money from whatever else can be charged to the customer, so insurance ripoffs are their most important revenue line.

We handle claims for our customers so we get special insight into the tricks that the rental companies pull all around the World, and we work with consumer advocacy groups such as Choice and we're often quoted in the Media. A few years back we conducted a large survey with one of our partners that had some worrying findings. There's also millions of reviews left by ripped off customers on the web!

Below is a summary of the common tricks that rental companies deploy.

1. Overpriced policies
Their CDW and SCDW policies are aggressively sold at the rental desk for up to €40/US$40 per day plus airport surcharges of another 10% to 25%. prices are always at least 50% cheaper.

2. Exclusions
Rental company waivers have many exclusions in the fine print of their contracts, including for common repairs like windscreens and tyres. They all do it!

3. Accident-related fees
Rental companies add "premium location surcharges", administration/processing fees, "loss of use" and other fees whenever there's damages to repair. Take a look!.

4. Remaining excess
Outside of the US, rental companies sell "excess waivers" that reduce the deductible towards zero. However they actually don't reduce it to zero - most still have a deductible excess of between €330-€1000 so you still have to pay for most damages. All our policies are sold with $0 deductible excess. We suggest that you stay informed and read our emails before you get to the rental desk!

5. Inflated repair costs
If you refused the rental company's waiver, the repair cost is grossly inflated and often they never undertake the repairs! This video (that mentions us) breaks down the rort. If you bring your own independent policy from our insurers reimburse you all those charges.   

6. You still pay even when you didn't cause the accident
The rental companies charge their renters even if they didn't cause the accident! If the other driver is proven to be "at fault" the rental company will be reimbursed for their repair costs but you won't be refunded. When their customers have an accident the rental companies make a profit! With a policy any costs that you incur are reimbursed within a few days.

7. Security Deposits ("Bonds")
Rental companies sometimes preauthorise/imprint/hold a "bond" (also called a security deposit) if you don't take their excess waiver. Sometimes they deduct the bond. That bond can be up to €5,000 (large motorhomes) but is usually €300-€700 for smaller cars. In some countries the rental companies add card fees if the bond is deducted and the card fees can be more than the rental cost!

8. Charges for damages you did not do
If you refused their waiver, when you drop off your vehicle there is no guarantee that they won't charge your credit card for damages that you did not do! That's right, they will charge the credit card that's on file because either a previous renter scratched the car you took out (which means they probably charged him or her too), or just because they want to. Guess what? You signed the "rental agreement" which basically gives them discretion to charge your card well after your vehicle was dropped off, and even if you dropped it off and the original inspection didn't find a scratch! It's best to have independent insurance so your insurer can wear the risk rather than your own mortgage!. Here's an example.

9. Third party liability
In Australia and NZ, third party damages are often pulled out of thin air by the rental companies and charged to the renter. This is done regardless of whether or not the rental company has "third party" insurance on the vehicle (i.e. there's not really any amount payable to the other car's driver for their damages because it is paid by the rental company's insurer). What makes it worse is that sometimes they will charge the renter even if they didn't cause the accident: the rental companies almost never disclose what their policy is regarding "at fault" accidents. Why? Because they charge you even if you didn't cause the accident, then they will recoup the repair costs from the other party and in doing so make a profit from the racket! That means they will get a refund for the damages from the other driver's insurer and they'll keep your money too. Accidents generate good profits for rental companies because the accident did not cost them a cent


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Please check if these questions are relevant or scroll down to contact us:

About Our Price Guarantees

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Who is & Who provides the coverage?
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Alternatives to

Should I buy coverage from the rental companies?
Can I rely on Travel Insurance?
Should I just risk it and not get insurance?

Annual Plans

How Do I "Log" Rentals For My Annual Plan?


How do claims work for "Extra Cover" (for USA & Canada)?
How do claims work for "Zero Excess Rental Cover", "No Excess Rental Cover" & "Rental Vehicle Cover"?
When can I expect claims to be settled?
How do I make a claim?
Am I insured if I have more than one accident?
How do I report a claim for "Collision Damage Coverage" (for US Residents)?

Country: Asian Countries

What should I do at the rental desk in Asian Countries

Country: Australia/NZ

How does Excess Reduction & Third Party Insurance work in Australia and New Zealand
What should I do at the rental desk in Australia/NZ?

Country: Canada

How does rental excess & CDW work in Canada? What are my options?
What should I do at the rental desk in Canada?

Country: EU/UK

How does rental excess/CDW work in Europe? What are my waiver options?
What should I do at the rental desk in EU/UK?

Country: Latin American Countries

What should I do at the rental desk in Latin American Countries

Country: Namibia/Africa

How does rental excess & CDW work in Africa? What are my options?

Country: United States

What are the insurance options in the USA? How does the US differ from most other countries?
How Does The Free Roadside Assistance Work for USA Policies?
What is Extra Cover for the USA? What do I say at the rental desk?
What should I do at the rental desk in the US?
What should I do at the rental desk if I am traveling abroad with Collision Damage Coverage (for US Residents)?

Country: Worldwide

What should I do at the rental desk: Introduction

Damage Waivers (CDW, LDW, Super CDW, Super LDW)

What is "excess", "CDW", "LDW", "excess reduction", etc? And what is
How much do I pay if there's an accident?
How do "LDW" and "Super CDW" and "Super LDW" differ from simple "CDW"?

Managing/Cancelling/Modifying Policies

How do I cancel a policy, change dates or add coverage? What if I changed my rental vehicle?
Help, I can't login!
When are the policies issued?
How do I submit my airline rewards program number?
How much coverage do I need?
Are there age or residency restrictions?
Are additional drivers insured?
How do I change the name of the policy holder?
Who is insured? What is insured?
I bought a policy but changed my car. Do I need a new policy?
How do cancellations and refunds work?
What is a refundable deposit/bond? When does it get refunded?
How do I add coverage to my policy?
I have several rentals over a period of time. Do I need a policy for each rental? What if I have several countries to visit?
What are my policy's inclusions?

Personal Accident Insurance

What is PAI (Personal Accident Insurance)?

Supplemental Liability Insurance

What is SLI (Supplementary Liability Insurance)?

Theft Protection

What is Theft Protection?

Third Party Cover

Is "Third Party" included?
Why do rental companies charge a large excess when the repair cost is small? What happens if I'm "not at fault"? Will I get my money back? When?

Types of Vehicles & Types of Rental (Peer To Peer etc)

Are 4x4s Insured? What about unsealed roads?
What types of "rentals" are insured? Car shares? Loan cars from mechanics?

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